Halfway between Phuket and Krabi (30 minute long boat ride from either) is the island of Ko Yao Noi. Seemingly remote by bustling Phuket standards, this island epitomizes true relaxation. Tim and I decided on Koyao Island Resort on a recommendation from one his coworkers, and boy was it worth it.
We arrived by Tuk-Tuk – one of the main methods of transportation on the narrow, little streets and were promptly shown the way to our open-air beach villa.
he villa was spacious, but made us immediately wish for one with walls. We were traveling at the beginning of the rainy season, which is full of mosquitos and quite humid. We had other visitors in our villa, including snails, bird, bat, crab, spider and snake – but fortunately for all involved, we had a mosquito net to keep the critters out.
We spent our entire first day by this glorious infinity pool. There were only 6 other occupied villas on the property, so we had the pool to ourselves for the majority of the time.
Prior to our trip, I did some research on cooking classes in Thailand. With Tim’s shellfish allergy, we were a bit restricted. Luckily for us, we found Mina, who recommended a private class in order to better control the ingredient list. We chose an appetizer, two entrees, a desert and a juice. Mina also surprised us with Pad Thai, which was to die for.
- Papaya Salad / Som Tam
- Yellow Curry with Chicken / Gaeng Gati Gai
- Panang Curry
- Pad Thai
- Sticky rice with mango / Khao Nooe Mamuang
- Lemongrass juice / Nam Ta Krai
Mina spoke perfect English, not common on the island, and was a wonderful host and teacher. She sent us home with our desert and a cook book, which we’ve already referenced back home. The entire experience was well worth it and we really enjoyed it.
On our third day, we hired a private charter tour of the Phang Nga Bay islands. It started out as a rainy, stormy day.
However, our fearless guide, Ping, insisted the tour must go on and it ended up being a perfect day. We snorkeled. We met sea urchins. We had drinks on a secluded island. We even swam in the most pristine lagoon anyone has ever seen.
Important tip: most people head straight to Ko Phi Phi to take in views of Maya Bay. The truth is, the smaller islands in the bay are far less crowded and infinitely more beautiful. Just something to consider if you want to go off the beaten path.
That night, we hoped to try a French restaurant on the island, but it was closed for the season. Instead, we ventured into town to have dinner at Kaya, which served the best Thai food we’d ever had. The women who worked here were lovely and extremely accommodating of our requests (no oyster sauce, no shrimp paste). The best part was that our hotel arranged for transportation there and our driver was waiting for us when we finished dinner. Everyone was beyond hospitable.
The next day, we took a long-tail boat heading to Krabi.